The Richmond Register

Lifestyles & Community

October 29, 2013

Brown marmorated stink bug knocking at the door

MADISON COUNTY — With the onset of shorter day and cooler temperatures, brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) has begun its trek from the field to overwintering sites, including homes. On a personal note, I have noticed BMSB on the doors and windows of my own home since Sept. 15. It is surprising to find the high numbers that are coming to homes relative to the low numbers observed on field and horticultural crops this summer. Eight new counties have confirmed populations of BMSB as a result of their fall migration indoors. This brings the total to 37 KY counties with BMSB.

The numbers have increased dramatically since a year ago. Last winter we would find about one per week in my home; that number has increased to 20 to 40 per day on or in my house! With this in mind, fruit and vegetable producers in areas where it has been established for several years (areas around Louisville, Ashland, and Lexington) need to consider how they are going to manage BMSB next year and prepare accordingly.

BMSB can severely damage several high value vegetable crops including sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, okra, and green beans. With fruit crops, it can ruin apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, and cherries. This pest is highly mobile in the landscape, moving to and from non-crop hosts to crop hosts and between hosts as crops become attractive to this invasive pest. With larger commercial plantings, such as in apple orchards, growers have noticed more severe damage within the boarder rows as compared to the center of blocks.

Control of BMSB is more difficult than other stink bugs. With larger highly mobile BMSB populations, even with excellent chemical control, residual control is very limited and continued immigration and re-infestation is likely. They are also more difficult to control with insecticides than some of our native stink bugs. Many of the insecticides that we have used in the past with fruit and vegetable production are not effective against this pest. Growers needing to control this insect with insecticides should check insecticide recommendations carefully. (Source: Dr. Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist)

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